Category: Pain and Suffering

Suicide: An Unpardonable Sin for Christians?

Throughout my professional career as both a college professor and a Christian scholar I have been asked thousands of questions. However, whenever I’m asked about suicide it always strikes an emotional chord deep within me. A close member of my family died by suicide more than 40 years ago when I was just a teenager. My wife also lost a member of…

8 Ways Christians Can Make Sense of Mass Shootings

Today I offer an article by guest author Mark Perez. *** The recent string of mass shootings in the US and worldwide has understandably rattled people’s nerves. Many wonder what they can do to protect themselves and, more importantly, what they can do to make sense of such acts of terror. I spent 36 years in law enforcement, retiring last…

The Perfect Storm of Suffering

  Upon losing his wife to cancer, C. S. Lewis wrote, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.”1 Life offers no exit from suffering. In fact, the older you get…

Finding Humor and Hope in the Graveyard

This might sound morbid to some people, but I’ve always been fascinated by the subject of death. As a youth, I found funerals much more interesting than weddings. And growing up in the Roman Catholic tradition, I thought Catholic funerals were particularly remarkable ceremonies. I can still remember the unique smell of incense filling the church at the first funeral…

No Exit from Suffering

I recently underwent some rather invasive medical exams that required me to spend some time in a medical facility. Lying in a hospital bed staring at the ceiling and waiting to see the doctor forced me, once again, to philosophize about the big questions of life and death. A lot of people go to great lengths to avoid thinking about…

Thinking about Suffering and Death, Part 4

Christians often talk about what it means to live well but seldom do they discuss what it means to die well. So what is a “good death”? In the context of hospice, the concept of a good death involves the easing of a dying person’s suffering. But in the broader scope of life, what constitutes a good death?

Thinking about Suffering and Death, Part 3

Courage is a virtue that I’ve always admired and respected. Growing up I was deeply impressed and proud of my father’s strength and valor as a frontline combat soldier in World War II. By extension, I appreciate and respect all people—such as noble police officers, firefighters, and soldiers—who willingly put their life on the line for others.